Daily Archives: October 4, 2019

page 74 of 231 of Exit West

It’s kinda funny how as the (their) world is ending, Saeed is likely the only boy who doesn’t want to have sex with his girlfriend, whereas she does want to. Kind of a nice reversal but for both of them it’s a way of hanging onto some sort of normality: he keeping his morality intact, she living life to her fullest – neither of which seem likely as the bombs are falling all around them.

page 73 of 231 of Exit West

These dark doorways have become the hopeful myth storytelling people tell each other as hope manifesting itself in unexpected ways – a hope that they can escape, that there is relief somewhere, that there is a somewhere to go because here is not anywhere anyone wants to be. There is always a somewhere, even if it exists only in stories.

page 71 of 231 of Exit West

“One’s relationship to windows now changed in the city” is a glorious line!

I love the image of the bookshelf propped up against the window, as if all that education and learning could keep the bombs out, as if the light seeping in around the bookcase was enough light to see by, and not just literally see, but to be illuminated by (the light of education). If our borders were all books, how would the world b better

page 70 of 231 of Exit West

Beautiful and simply stated that “All agreed he was a fine and delicate man, worryingly so, for these were not times for such men.” A lesser writer might have tried to overstate and overplay the emotion here, but by underplaying it the scene is all the more powerful and sad. Fantastic writing. And Hamid is right – these are not times for such men (people) and yet, paradoxically, they are exactly what is needed.

page 69 of 231 of Exit West

“She remembered the boy as shy, with a stutter and a quick mind for mathematics, a good boy, but she could not remember his name” and he’s like so many other who were a “good boy” and now are firing a truck mounted machine gun, and probably will be dead soon. How many people like this have come and died through history?

page 64 of 231 of Exit West

Considering the circumstances of a run on the banks and her being sexually assaulted, “a camping stove, some extra fuel, a large box of matches, fifty candles, and a packet of chlorine tablets” are far better than flowers. Though a gun would probably be even better to have since you can get / keep all those supplies and flower with it, as well as defend yourself.

The Mountains – grow unnoticed

The Mill, 1648, Rembrandt
Background Image: The Rocky Mountains, 1866, Albert Bierstadt

Emily could be writing about herself as a poet who every day will “grow unnoticed” and she writes only because she must, not for fame or “applause”. Yet she also describes “fellowship” in contrast to the lonely work of building a mountain but who is it she desires “fellowship” with? Is she suggesting that the light of the sun (inspiration) spends each night with her in dreams?

I would imagine Emily never actually saw the mountains, at least not the kind she’s describing in this poem. However, not having first-hand experience is no impediment to the creative mind, and I think that’s partially what she getting at here, especially with the final image of the poem in which the mountains turn “golden” and then “night” comes. This image is important because the light of the sun which had been illuminating the “Faces” of the “Mountains” ends its day tucked in with the mountains, as if the light of the “Sun” which reveals all that which is visible to the naked eye, shines differently at night and illuminates the unseen world. If you think about how dreams work, especially the fact that you can see even though your eyes are closed, where is this light source coming from if not the “Sun” who has nestled itself in the mountain range of your dreams?

Thus Emily, who does not often leave her home, is still able to travel across the universe every night and then reports back her findings the next day in her poetry. She is, like the geologist who studies how “Mountains – grow”, she records the growth of her imagination and what is revealed there in her own notes, and she does so without asking for any recognition or help. Her only companion is her imagination and that seems to be plenty of “fellowship” for her.